First year class shows large increase in enrollment

The class of 2018 includes 659 total students, a significant increase from last year’s smaller class of 539 in the class of 2017.

Justin Doty, director of domestic recruitment, said the rise in admissions is a direct result of the increased marketing campaign and strategic plan, the finalization of multiple campus wide construction projects, increased financial aid and altered recruiting techniques.

“The number one goal this year was head count. After last year, enrolling a smaller class, this year the number one goal was getting 600-plus incoming first years,” Doty said.

By increasing the marketing campaign, the university was able to reach more potential students and yielded an increase in headcount for each of the largest ethnicities. The incoming class has 368 Caucasians compared to 283 in the class of 2017, 153 Hispanics/Latinos compared to 126, 51 Asians/Pacific Islanders versus 35, 29 African-Americans versus 24 and three Native Americans versus one.

Out of the first years, 34 percent are non-Texan and come from 40 different states, the most prominent being California, Colorado, Washington, Arizona, Illinois and Oregon. Of the 34 percent who are non-Texan, nine percent are international students.  The incoming class represents 33 countries, and the top five in terms of representation are Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, China and India.

The large incoming class is in turn adding to the diversity of the community. To Cairo DeGaillard, a member of O-Team, this diversity brings a unique environment to the campus.

“Not only is it diverse among races and ethnicities, but it’s also more diverse because of mindsets,” DeGaillard said. “Trinity really tries to foster a community that’s more diverse because when you go out into the real world, you encounter a lot of different personalities.”

The marketing team also enhanced recruiting just in Texas by placing a recruiter in Dallas along with the others already stationed throughout the state, according to Doty. As a result of this effort, the number of incoming students from Houston grew by 44, from Dallas by 27, from Fort Worth by 14, from San Antonio by seven and from Austin by five.

“Traditionally, it is always harder to get males to attend the smaller, liberal arts colleges and this year it is split 50 percent male and 50 percent female,” Doty said.

While the university did reach its goal of enrolling 600 new students, it still sought to make sure the incoming class was up to Trinity’s admission standards.

“A secondary goal was academic profile. We wanted to increase the headcount, but we wanted to make sure they still fit in and were academically prepared and motivated,” Doty said. “We didn’t want to sacrifice GPA or SAT.”

The average SAT score for the incoming class is 1268 while the average ACT score is 29.

The finalization of the construction on campus, was another major reason Doty attributed to the rise in numbers this year, with many older buildings  like CSI and Marrs McLean seeing substantial renovations and remodeling.

“One of the major things I have seen is the campus itself. It is showing so much better than it was a year ago,” Doty said. “Last year for prospective families visiting, they would just see so much construction and everything torn up. Now the campus is showing really well and so there’s much more of a “˜wow’ factor.”

Trinity also increased financial aid awarded to students alongside some scholarships.

“We are increasing tuition every year but not nearly to the same extent as other colleges,” Doty said. “We’ve been able to be more competitive with scholarships and financial aid. We are not raising [tuition] at the same rate that other schools are.”

The altered recruiting techniques included placing a bigger emphasis on gaining athletes. 67 percent of the incoming first years participated in varsity athletics, and recruiters looked at many since their junior year of high school. Of those, 25 percent of students were involved in more than one varsity sport and 19 percent were the captain of their sport.

Other than athletics, the incoming class showed interest in a range of extracurricular activities. 31 percent of students participated in music, 14 percent were involved in theater or dance, eight percent were in art and 27 percent were fluent in another language.

The first years tended to display concern with on-campus affairs as 26 percent served in student government, 15 percent contributed to their school publications and 11 percent participated in debate.

The Class of 2018 also showed an interest in the community. 73 percent performed service in their communities and 19 percent worked more than 10 hours per week.

Trinity has high expectations for the Class of 2018 after putting so much work into getting them here. “Overall, we are beyond excited about this class, Doty said. “It’s a really talented freshman class and they seem great and all of our counselors are excited.”